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BASEL: May 03, 2017. Panalpina has agreed to purchase Air Connection, a Kenya-based forwarder of perishables, following the acquisition of Danish ocean logistics company Carelog. Financial terms have not been disclosed for either transaction.

The move comes after Panalpina's acquisition of Kenya-based perishables forwarder Airflo in 2015, and only two weeks after the company formally announced the launch of its Perishables Network.

Air Connection is currently Kenya's fourth largest airfreight forwarder in terms of export volumes and the merger with Airflo is expected to handle around 70,000 tons of flowers, fruit and vegetables a year.

Kenya RosesAccording to Manjit Brar, owner and managing director of Air Connection, his company's strength lies in arranging smaller shipments on scheduled passenger flights to over 150 destinations worldwide rather than shipping huge volumes to Amsterdam via freighter.

Panalpina Airflo managing director Conrad Archer explained why: "Increasingly, buyers of perishables want to source directly from the producer and producers want to sell directly to the country of consumption. It removes unnecessary costs, potential delays and most importantly allows a fresher product to be offered to the consumer.

"Joining forces with Air Connection will offer additional opportunities to grow the perishables business in Kenya, especially with the export of vegetables, herbs and cuttings," he continued.

In addition to its cold storage facilities in Nairobi, Air Connection operates an office in Mombasa where Panalpina plans to develop its ocean freight business for perishables using reefers.

Meanwhile the company has completed the purchase of a majority stake in ocean specialist Carelog Freight Service to "increase our market share in Denmark," according to Panalpina CEO Stefan Karlen. "The country has many export-oriented companies and its biggest industries, namely manufacturing, consumer, retail, fashion as well as healthcare, are industries that we focus on and serve globally."

Launched in 2008, Carelog provides ocean, air and logistics services from six Danish locations including Copenhagen, Aarhus and Odense: "Although we may merge with a global player we will always be conscious of our roots and stay flexible for and committed to our existing local customers," declared Lars Engbo, managing director and one of Carelog's founders.

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